AeroMéxico (AM, México City) is considering acquiring CSeries jets from Bombardier (BBA, Montréal Trudeau) as part of its Regional Jet fleet renewal plans. Sources familiar with the Mexican carrier’s operations told Reuters it had held preliminary talks to acquire an unspecified number of the aircraft from equity partner Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) which has seventy-five CS100s currently on firm order.
However, while the first of the order is due to deliver in early 2018, a US Department of Commerce decision to slap a 300% tariff on the aircraft has put that timeline into limbo. Washington alleges that the CSeries programme has unfairly benefitted from Canadian government subsidization and has signalled its intention to levy the tariffs on all CSeries imports. Should the US International Trade Commission (ITC) approve the motion in early 2018, all US orders for the type would be subject to these additional costs.
As such, Reuters reports that under the proposed AeroMéxico deal, the narrowbody jets intended for Delta, would be sold to AeroMéxico for its use thereby avoiding the added tariffs. This is seen as an interim solution to allow Bombardier to fulfil its contractual obligations to Delta and deliver its jets in early 2018 as agreed to.
The sources warned, however, that the Mexicans were also looking at offerings from Embraer (São José dos Campos) and that the CSeries proposal was not a done deal.
In October, Bombardier handed over control of the CSeries programme to Airbus (AIB, Toulouse Blagnac). As part of the purchase, the European manufacturer plans to begin CSeries production at its Alabama plant, a move which would negate any of the aforementioned duties. Boeing (BOE, Chicago O’Hare) has argued that even if the aircraft are manufactured in the United States, they should still be subject to the same penalties.
To date, neither Bombardier nor Airbus has given any firm timeline as to the start of Alabama-based CSeries tooling and production.